I know it might be strange to dedicate a post to my Dad when this seemingly looks to be a post about *nakes and ladders, but stay with me.
This old *nakes and ladders game goes back. Way back. I don’t even know how far; possibly even before me. But to me, it represents all the love and good times that I have ever had with my dear Dad. I have always been both a Mama’s girl AND a Daddy’s girl, and could go on ad nauseam about my respect and love for both of them.
As far as my special times with my dad goes, there are many. We have skied together. Drove home in “BES”, singing along to old Alan Jackson songs that no normal 10 year old should know. We have drove around countless neighbourhoods, just to look at new builds and to see whose Christmas lights were the best. There was no better question from my Dad than, “Do you want to go for a drive?” And each and every time I step foot in a Canadian Tire, the smell of tires and hardware brings me back to my Dad and being that kid again, going to our favorite store together to run amuck in the *toy* aisles, and collecting his Canadian Tire money. His toys were always in a different part of the store than mine ;)
So back to this *nakes and ladders game. This was our thing. In our basement, behind the bar, there was a dusty old crate, and in it lived this tattered piece of cardboard, a penny, a nickle, and a couple dice. And anytime, no matter what was going on, I could pull out this game, plunk it down in front of my Dad, and we would play game after game of *nakes and ladders. I didn’t know it at the time, but this is one of my more cherished childhood memories. I took the game with me to Toronto as a souvenir, and last night, in a moment of shack-wackiness, I pulled out the game for Jeff and I to play. And although the penny and nickle were replaced by the cat and owl, and although we had to settle for digital ipod dice, all the memories of playing *nakes and ladders with my dear old Dad came flooding back.
Dad, I love you and miss you so much. Through both your gentle and not-so-gentle ways, you have taught me many of the lessons that appear on this bizarre old board game. I know that generosity will lead to gratitude. That mischief leads to woe. And above all, I know that the memories of time spent with loved ones is the thing that will get us through our time apart.
Get your nickle ready Dad; this bad boy is coming home with me this Christmas.